Skip to content
Need some Easter Sermon inspiration? Check out our Easter Sermon Collection Learn more
Go back

Celebrate Recovery

Recovery is a Journey

By Scott

After many sobriety attempts from drug and alcohol addiction, my official recovery journey started December 26, 1993. I entered an addiction treatment center in my community that day to see if I could make this new lifestyle finally stick. And it did. I recently celebrated 25 years of clean and sober living! Praise God!

Early on in my recovery, I realized I had a lot of other stuff I needed to address—not material stuff, but emotional, spiritual, and psychological stuff. I was filled with anger and resentment, along with an unhealthy addiction to pornography, which was also getting in the way of living my life functionally.

I had been introduced to the secular 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) prior to this time. I only appeared at meetings to try and understand what 12-step work was all about. I wasn’t interested, and it didn’t stick. During my treatment stay, though, I was challenged with finding a sponsor before being released. I started attending meetings again, and after finding a sponsor, I really started working the 12 steps for the first time.

Steps 2 and 3 were a struggle for me spiritually. However, while working these two steps, my sponsor led me to a weekend spiritual retreat with a group of other men. That’s when I made the decision to turn my life and will over to the care of God (Jesus Christ). I knew that I had been playing God in my own life, and that’s why I was a mess in the first place!

Thankfully, the founders of AA provided a solution in Step 4: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” This step asks me to make a list of my stuff, the stuff I’ve held on to for so long—the stuff that has held on to me and kept me in bondage. By the time I got to my first 4th step, I had a year of sobriety under my belt and spring was in the air. My first exposure to 4th-step work was brutal! I hated it! I wasn’t ready for the depth of searching that I needed to do. At the same time, I knew that God had the power to help me recover. I was finally ready to do some mental and emotional spring-cleaning.

Taking an honest look at my stuff required three things. First, I had to be willing to look at it all and where it came from. Second, I had to be willing to let go of it all. And third, I had to take responsibility, to an extent, for that stuff. Not all of our stuff belongs to us. But for the stuff that does, I had to be accountable.

Recovery is a journey—a journey that asks us to continually grow and evolve. I did several other 4th steps in my years of secular recovery. And frankly, they helped save my life. God was slowly transforming my mind and soul. When I was introduced to Christ-centered 12-step work through Celebrate Recovery®, I was able to begin using the 8 Recovery Principles and Christ-centered steps to address other areas of my life, including my sexual integrity, anger, and codependency. Subsequent 4th-step work and interaction with my sponsor and accountability partners has allowed God to free me of the bondage of pornography, objectifying women, and codependent behavior. I still struggle with lustful thoughts at times, but God continues to work on that hang-up on a daily basis.

An annual or regular 4th step is one of the most important tools for finding where my transformation can take place. By being involved in Celebrate Recovery Step Studies and doing regular 4th-step work, I’ve learned that my own stubborn self-will is much deeper and more insidious than I ever realized.

The Step Studies bring companions into my life who can help me stay accountable in my daily walk with Christ. These companions are there for me when I’m following God into the unknown, looking at the truth about my behavior and how the rest of the world responds to my actions. With that awareness, I can then begin to take a daily inventory (Step 10) and clearly see what is going on during every moment of my day. I can demonstrate to myself that I have the ability to control my actions, rather than operate like a robot under the weight of old hurts, hang-ups, and habits.

I’m thanking God today for the Celebrate Recovery ministry and the impact that Christ-centered 12-step work has had on my life! The journey continues!

Related Posts

Subscribe to Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox

Weekly Email for Pastors and Church Leaders

    We care about your data. Read our privacy policy.

    Pastor Rick Warren smiling